Meet Your Pillars of the Profession: Part III

Each year at the annual NASPA Conference, the NASPA Foundation recognizes a series of distinguished individuals who have served as leaders, teachers, and scholars in student affairs and higher education. Each individual is nominated and supported for designation as a Pillar by colleagues, students, friends, or others who find them deserving of this honor. If selected as a Pillar, the nominator and selected Foundation Board member will raise $2,500 in the name of the individual being nominated to further research and scholarship in student affairs.

The NASPA Foundation’s Pillar of the Profession Award honors members of the profession who:

Are individuals of sustained professional distinction in the higher education field, as defined by donors and supporters

Have served in leadership roles in NASPA, either regionally or nationally

Are being recognized or remembered by colleagues, friends, students, or student organizations for extraordinary service

Significant lifetime contributions to the higher education field

Celebrate your Pillars of the Profession at the 2018 NASPA Annual Conference in Philadelphia, PA. 

March 5, 2018 at 7:00 PM

Liberty Ballroom A /B

Sheraton Philadelphia Downtown

Meet Your Pillars of the Profession

W. Houston Dougharty, Vice President for Student Affais, Hofstra University

W. Houston Dougharty is vice president for student affairs at Hofstra University. He earned degrees from the University of Puget Sound (WA), Western Washington University (WWU), and the University of California-Santa Barbara (UCSB). Before coming to Hofstra in 2014, he was vice president for student affairs at Grinnell College (IA) for seven years, served as senior student affairs officer at Lewis & Clark College (OR), and as associate dean and acting dean at his undergraduate alma mater, Puget Sound. He was also associate dean at Iowa State University, after a twelve year career in college admissions.

In 2011 Houston was the faculty director of the NASPA Aspiring SSAO Institute, was on the 2014 Small Colleges and Universities Institute planning team, and the NASPA 2009 Conference program committee. He received the Outstanding Senior Student Affairs Officer award from NASPA Region IV-East in 2013 and the Distinguished Service to the Profession award from the Iowa Student Personnel Association in 2011. Houston represented NASPA as a delegate to Spain in 2013 and again to Ireland in 2017; in 2015 he coordinated the NASPA delegation visit to Long Island from Mexico. He has served on the NASPA Regional Boards in Regions V, IV-E, and II, as secretary, treasurer, state representative, conference speakers chair, SSAO conference track coordinator, small college and university representative, and professional standards representative. He is honored to have perpetual awards named for him at Iowa State (Dougharty Ally Award) and Puget Sound (Dougharty Hearthstone Award). In addition, in 2016 and 2017 the Hofstra Division of Student Affairs was included among the 18 Most Promising Places to Work in Student Affairs, named by The Ohio State University Center for Higher Education Enterprise, Diverse magazine, and ACPA.

He is a frequently invited speaker at conferences and at schools and colleges and has taught at both UCSB and Drake University (IA). He has been cited in numerous publications (like the New York Times, Chronicle of Higher education, Des Moines Register, Seattle Times, and USA Today) and is published in a number of books and publications, including: Linking Theory to Practice: Case Studies with College Students (2000, 2012), The Advocate College Guide (2006), Maybe I Should . . . : Case Studies on Ethics for Student Affairs Professionals (2009), Executive Transitions in Student Affairs (2014), and The Leadership Exchange (2015). He is an avid theatre goer and enthusiastically roots for Hofstra Pride, Puget Sound Logger, and ISU Cyclone athletics, as well as his beloved Seattle Seahawks (maintaining his season tickets no matter where he lives!). He is forever grateful for the support of his family (Kimberly, Allie, and Fen), colleagues, students, and friends (from Hofstra, Grinnell, Lewis & Clark, Puget Sound, Iowa State, UCSB, WWU, ACPA, ISPA, LICSPA, and, of course, NASPA).

Tom Jackson, Jr., President, Black Hills State University

Since 2014, Dr. Tom Jackson, Jr., president of Black Hills State University, has provided leadership and vision for the University which has significantly enhanced the teaching and learning environment and continues to create additional opportunities for students. President Jackson has focused the vision of the University by inspiring faculty, staff and students to dream big and believe that BHSU is a place “Where Anything is Possible.” By combining the area’s traditions with an innovative outlook, Dr. Tom Jackson, Jr., has connected the University’s legacy with its future in the vibrant dynamic community of Spearfish, South Dakota.

A first generation student himself, Dr. Tom Jackson, Jr., is an inspiration to the many BHSU students who are the first in their families to graduate from a higher educational institution. As a veteran, who still serves in the Indiana Guard Reserve, President Jackson, has strengthened the University’s ties with military and veteran personnel in the entire state and he is committed to providing educational opportunities for military personnel.

President Jackson’s extensive international experience has opened doors for increased study abroad and service learning programs and the addition of new international partners including the first ever with a university on the African continent – in Gaborone, Botswana. An inspirational and motivational speaker, Dr. Tom Jackson is often requested to present at regional, national and international events.

Prior to BHSU, President Jackson has held leadership roles at several other universities, including vice president for student affairs at the University of Louisville, vice president for student affairs at Texas A&M University-Kingsville, dean of students at McMurry University, director of the Student Activities Center at the University of Texas-El Paso, academic development specialist at Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo, area coordinator at the University of Southern California, and assistant director of residence life at St. Mary’s University (San Antonio). He was also president of the American College Personnel Association in 2009-2010, serving as the elected CEO and spokesman for 8,500 student development professionals from 27 countries and 1,300 institutions.

President Jackson holds a doctor of education degree in educational management from the University of La Verne in California. He has a master’s degree in counseling/student personnel from Pennsylvania’s Shippensburg University, a bachelor’s degree in business management/personnel from Southwest (Minn.) State University, and an associate degree from Highline Community College in Midway, Wash. He is a veteran of the U.S. Coast Guard Reserve, Army National Guard, Texas State Guard, and Indiana Guard Reserve.

Originally from Seattle, Wash., Jackson is married to Mona Kumar Jackson. They have two children: Thomas (TJ), 19 and a freshman at BHSU, and Chandi, 15. He enjoys flying as a private instrument-rated pilot, travel, movies, and college sports.

Denzil Suite, Vice President for Student Life, University of Washington

Dr. Denzil Suite, Vice President for Student Life, joined the University of Washington in July 2013. In that capacity, he provides leadership and direction for strategic planning, assessment, and staff development for a comprehensive division of student programs and services. He leads a team of approximately 1,000 professionals in creating and maintaining a healthy campus environment through services, programs, and innovative learning experiences beyond the classroom, and through a highly collaborative relationship with other senior UW leaders. 

Prior to joining UW, he served as Associate Vice President of Student Affairs at the University of Southern California where he had oversight responsibilities for over 20 departments in the division. He also served and as an Associate Professor for Clinical Education at the USC Rossier School of Education. He taught master’s level courses on Student Development, the History of Higher Education, and on Intervention Strategies. 

Suite earned his bachelor’s degree in Psychology at The Ohio State University, a master’s degree in Education from the University of Vermont, and a Ph.D. in Policy and Organization from the University of Southern California. His research for his doctorate centered on factors affecting student success in college. He is especially interested in how students from differing backgrounds are affected by the college environment. He chose this topic because of his long-standing commitment to college students and their success. Dr. Suite has worked professionally in student affairs for over 20 years and has held positions of responsibility at UC Berkeley, Cal State L.A., and UC Santa Cruz. He is the recipient of numerous awards from national, local, and student organizations. He currently serves on the Board of Directors for Front Porch Communities—a nonprofit company serving the elderly, indigent, and disabled. 

Mamta Accapadi, Vice President of Student Affairs, Rollins College

Mamta Accapadi is a partner and a mother first. She is grateful to be in a head and heart space where her daughter challenges and affirms her sense of purpose every day. 
In her professional role, Mamta serves as the Vice President of Student Affairs at Rollins College.  She finds inspiration in working at a liberal arts college where student affairs is central to the facilitation of a liberal education for its students.  Prior to Rollins College, Mamta worked at Oregon State University as the Dean of Student Life, and as facilitator of the College Student Services Administration program, where she also served as faculty.  In prior roles, Mamta worked in Multicultural Affairs at The University of Texas at Austin, and has held faculty appointments in Ethnic Studies, Education, and Women’s Studies. 
Mamta received her Ph.D. in higher education administration from the University of Texas at Austin, and she served as a postdoctoral fellow in Women’s Studies at the University of Houston. She also holds a M.Ed. in higher education administration and B.A. in microbiology, both from the University of Texas at Austin.

Mamta is deeply grateful for the opportunities she has been offered to champion social justice education efforts, and commit to mentorship of under-represented communities.  She has served as a consultant, written curriculum, and worked with universities and companies on inclusion of different constituency groups. She is thankful to the faculty of the Social Justice Training Institution (SJTI) for inviting her to serve as a guest faculty of the institute.  She has worked to advance Asian American/Pacific Islander/Desi American inclusion through the API knowledge community at NASPA, the API Caucus at NCORE, and the Gates Foundation as a long-time reader for the GMS scholarship read.  She also served as faculty of the Dungy Leadership Institute for the NASPA Undergraduate Fellows Program, and chair of the NUFP Board.  She is a past recipient of the Zenobia Hikes Memorial Award from the NASPA Center for Women, and the Doris Michiko Ching “Shattering the Glass Ceiling” Award from the NASPA API Knowledge Community. 

Mary Jo Gonzales, Vice President of Student Affairs, Washington State University

Mary Jo Gonzales brings a wealth of experience and an abundance of enthusiasm to her position of Vice President of Student Affairs at Washington State University. As a System Vice President, her leadership of student development extends to six campuses, guiding a myriad of units in providing top-notch, specialized student services that support every WSU student.

Having earned both a master’s degree in communications and Ph.D. in Education at WSU, Gonzales is respected across the nation as a student affairs professional. She previously served as the inaugural director of NASPA’s Escaleras Institute and from 2013-2016 she chaired the NASPA National Excellence Awards Committee. While working as associate dean of students and director of the Academic Success Center at Iowa State University in 2013, she was honored with an award as “Women Impacting ISU” for her role in mentoring and cultivating a community focused on student success. She also received a Martin Luther King, Jr. Distinguished Service Award from Washington State University for her efforts to advance diversity, inclusion, and equity as a graduate student. 

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